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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Change of Direction a New Start for Gyuris

Swimmer from Thousand Oaks is headed East, to Brown, after an undistinguished summer.

August 13, 2000|LAUREN PETERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — Aron Gyuris swam plenty fast at the Junior Championships West meet last week in San Antonio, Texas, faster than he ever has in three events.

Now the Thousand Oaks High graduate is looking for a change of pace.

He hopes to find it at Brown University. Gyuris leaves for his freshman year at the Providence, R.I., campus in two weeks.

"I expect it'll be difficult," Gyuris said. "It'll definitely be a big change. But I think it's time to take that next step."

Others think so, too.

"He's ready for some change," said Paul Davidson, coach of Conejo Simi Aquatics, Gyuris' club team. "I think he needs more competition, and it's just going to be a new, fresher environment."

Gyuris, 18, swam well at the Southern Section Division I championships in May, claiming his first title in the 50-yard freestyle with a school-record time of 20.92 seconds and finishing second in the 100 butterfly in 51.24 seconds.

"He's never placed a great emphasis on [the section meet], but this year he shaved, tapered, the whole thing," said Coach Peter Daland of Thousand Oaks.

"He realized it was his senior year and I think it was important for him to win."

He has since struggled to stay focused and motivated for the workouts and meets that dot every competitive swimmer's summer schedule.

"I took it easy, just practicing, but not as intensely, and getting some rest," Gyuris said.

Distracted by senior trips and graduation at the end of his high school career and lacking motivation once it was over, Gyuris, a member of the CSA swim club since 1992, attended only two practices in two weeks during one stretch in June.

"There were no immediate meets coming up, and I figured I could take some time off," he said. "I just needed a break."

It proved a revelation.

"The days I didn't practice, I was amazed how much time there is between the end of school and going to bed," Gyuris said.

He returned after the break to practice for the Central Coast Zone Championships in Oxnard, where CSA won the team title last month and then geared up for the junior national meet in Texas.

But in between, his times were slow and his motivation sometimes low.

The junior national meet in Texas qualified as a high point, with Gyuris placing seventh in the 100-meter butterfly in 57.80, 12th in the 100 freestyle in 53.35 and 13th in the 200 butterfly in 2:08.63.

The times were career-bests but didn't count for as as much as Gyuris hoped they would.

"I had better times, but I placed lower than last year because this was a faster meet," Gyuris said. "I didn't do as well as I wanted to."

Especially in the 50-meter freestyle, where Gyuris' summer was reflected in his disqualification for a false start.

"It was the first time that has ever happened," Davidson said. "He never gets [disqualified], never even close. A couple things just didn't click that day."

Davidson believes Gyuris will put the struggles behind at Brown.

"He has improved every season, but he's hit a plateau right now," Davidson said. "His motivation level wasn't real high this summer, and I think he's looking ahead. He'll learn a lot at Brown, and hopefully, he'll take advantage of it."

Gyuris, a Hungarian citizen who moved to the United States with his family in 1989, hopes to swim for his country's national team.

More immediate goals include qualifying for the NCAA championships and attaining U.S. senior nationals qualifying times.

"It's a big goal for me," Gyuris said. "I've been disappointed that I haven't done it yet. I'm almost there, I think."

To do it, Gyuris might change events.

Daland thinks longer races might be the shortest route to success for the 5-foot-9 Gyuris, who often goes against taller swimmers with longer strokes in the sprints.

"I keep thinking he'd be a good 200 freestyler," Daland said. "He's technically good and he's got strong strokes."

For Gyuris, it would be another change of pace.

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